As a child of the early 50's, the upsurge of Eric Clapton's career were a huge part of my youth. A friend had a reel-to-reel tape of '5 Live Yardbirds' which we played to death, and on holiday with parents and a 'holiday treat' in store, I chose the 'Bluesbreakers' 'Beano' album. So at the right age for what Clapton did next, I was there, ready and waiting for Cream.
On this box set we have everything, plus a few tracks we didn't know existed back then and would have no doubt robbed grandmother to get hold of. So here you have the 'Fresh Cream' album, 'Disraeli Gears,' and an extra of the track Jack Bruce has always been so fickle about, 'Hey Lawdy Mama,' which became 'Strange Brew.' The studio tracks from the 'Wheels Of Fire' double album follow, plus the 'Anyone For Tennis' single. Something of a treasure trove fills this CD with a fantastic array of demo versions no Cream fan would want to be without; including 'The Weird Of Hermiston' and 'The Clearout,' which Jack later re-recorded for his 'Songs For A Taylor' album. 'The Clearout,' so legend has it, was the last studio song the band recorded together; and there's a 1 minute Falstaff beer commercial jingle they did for a Scandinavian TV advert as if to prove all their songs didn't have to run to the 20 minute mark!
Discs 3 & 4 are live tracks taken from 'Wheels Of Fire,' 'Live Cream,' and 'Live Cream Volume II,' and if you find these too long and tedious then you're obviously far too young to appreciate everything Cream were about - they are magnificent!
The box set itself is more like a hard backed book with 2 CD's inside either cover, and a massive booklet with to-die-for pictures and an essay by Cream/Jimi Hendrix main-man, John McDermott. The cover is the same as 'Disraeli Gears' with a different title, and anyone with an interest in this superb band and the history surrounding both them and their era of magnificence will be justly proud to own this.